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Photocatalytic processes assisted by artificial solar light for soil washing effluent treatment


Contaminated soil has become a growing issue in recent years. The most common technique used to remove contaminants (such as metals) from the soil is the soil washing process. However, this process produces a final effluent containing chelating agents (i.e., ethylenediaminedisuccinic acid, also known as EDDS) and extracted metals (i.e., Cu, Fe, and Zn) at concentrations higher than discharge limits allowed by the Italian and Brazilian environmental law. Therefore, it is necessary to develop further treatments before its proper disposal or reuse. In the present study, soil washing tests were carried out through two sequential paths. Moreover, different artificial sunlight-driven photocatalytic treatments were used to remove Cu, Zn, Fe, and EDDS from soil washing effluents. Metal concentrations after the additional treatment were within the Brazilian and Italian regulatory limits for discharging in public sewers. The combined TiO2-photocatalytic processes applied were enough to decontaminate the effluents, allowing their reuse in soil washing treatment. Ecotoxicological assessment using different living organisms was carried out to assess the impact of the proposed two-step photocatalytic process on the effluent ecotoxicity.

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This work was carried out within the project LIFE11 ENV/IT/000275 (ECOREMED). Satyro S. acknowledges her scholarship supported by the Brazilian National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) (Process n. 201106/2012-4). The support received from Antonietta Siciliano in the toxicology analysis was highly appreciated.

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Correspondence to Suéllen Satyro.

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Satyro, S., Race, M., Marotta, R. et al. Photocatalytic processes assisted by artificial solar light for soil washing effluent treatment. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 6353–6360 (2017).

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  • Soil washing effluent
  • Metal removal
  • Sacrificial photocatalysis
  • “Land of Fires”
  • Soil remediation